Warwickshire County Council and NHS Coventry and Warwickshire are working together to raise awareness of antibiotic resistance.
People are reminded to save antibiotics for when they are really needed.
Antibiotics are used to treat or prevent some types of bacterial infection, they cannot be used to treat viral infections such as colds and flu. The drugs work by killing bacteria or preventing them from spreading. But they do not work for everything, and many mild bacterial infections get better on their own without using antibiotics.
Taking antibiotics when they are not needed means they may not work as well in the future as the bacteria develops resistance to the antibiotics effects. There are some key things that people can all do to keep antibiotics working:
- Only take antibiotics when needed as advised by a GP or medical practitioner. Find out more about when antibiotics are needed here
- Always take a healthcare professional’s advice on antibiotics.
- Always take the full course of any prescribed antibiotics and never share with others.
- Remember, respiratory viruses and stomach viruses, like norovirus, can’t be treated with antibiotics - they usually get better with rest, fluids and over-the-counter remedies. See here for more information, including when and where to seek advice. To help prevent the spread of winter viruses:
- check you and your family have had all your immunisations
- wash your hands regularly with soap and water
- catch coughs/sneezes in a tissue (and binning it)
Councillor Margaret Bell, portfolio holder for Adult Social Care and Health at Warwickshire County Council said: “Common winter viruses are spreading and can make us feel quite unwell, however, it's a common misconception that these viruses can be treated with antibiotics. To help ourselves it’s important that we take steps to prevent the spread of viruses, for example, regularly washing our hands and staying away from others when we don’t feel well.
“To help keep antibiotics working and to continue their effectiveness, it’s important we only take antibiotics when we need them and to follow the advice from the GP. Keep antibiotics for when they are needed.”
Sharon Stuart, Infection Prevention and Control Strategic Lead Nurse at Coventry and Warwickshire ICB, said: “Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is unfortunately now a global problem. It requires local, national and worldwide solutions to limit the risks and minimise the impact for health, both for now and in the future.
“NHS Coventry and Warwickshire are committed to working with all services to stop infections in the first place and so reduce the need to use antibiotics. This isn’t always possible though so, where antibiotics are required, we want to make sure everyone knows how to use them appropriately and only if they really need them. Protecting and preserving this valuable resource now will guard against them not working for us in the future.”
For more information, and for ways to help the fight against antibiotic resistance, please visit www.nhs.uk/conditions/antibiotics